MP3 Bellevue Jubilee - The Deep, Dark South
Bellevue Jubilee performs "21st Century vaudeville noir," a heady combination of blues, rock, and country filtered through Jazz age cabaret that somehow still manages to violate noise ordinances in a decidedly rockish manner.
12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, ROCK: Americana
Bellevue Jubilee performs "21st Century vaudeville noir," a heady combination of blues, rock, and country filtered through Jazz age cabaret. With strange instrumentation and even stranger instrumentalists, Bellevue Jubilee is a treat for the eyes as well as the ears. They perform an eclectic batch of original songs in a ragged, carnivalesque atmosphere that is not entirely un-sinister. Using kazoos and accordions, electric stand-up bass and trumpet, telecasters, melodica, cajon, and glockenspiel, Bellevue Jubilee delivers fun and freak in equal measure while somehow still managing to violate noise ordinances in a decidedly rockish manner.
V. K. Mountebone: Graveled croons, field hollers, and things with strings
Herroil Venus: Full-throated, southern womanhood, melodica, piano
Miss Kitty Wonpus: Dulcet tones, high-end howls, piano, glockenspiel
Zoro Euskadi: Accordion, stuff with keys
Mustapha el Gato: Electrified, double-bass boom
Rico: All things drum
Biographies and Myths of Origin
Bellevue Jubilee was founded long before its individual members met and began whipping up their musical concoctions. Miss Kitty Wampus had a set of six dolls as a child, two named Monte and Venus. Herroil Venus has always had a recurring dream where she rides a giant melodica into a pearlescent dawn while bells peal with manic jubilation V. K Mountebone''s recurring dream of being sandwiched between two lovely, sweaty women is perhaps unremarkable, but he did wake up in Bangkok one afternoon with a crimson "BJ" tattooed in an unmentionable place with no memory of how or why it was there. Such omens hint at the complex design woven into the fabric of the universe even in circumstances as apparently chaotic and improbable as the way Bellevue Jubilee first began playing together.
For a variety of reasons, all of which amounted to a shameful paucity of cash, the Jubilistas had individually signed up for a in-house drug trial at the Probamost clinic in Austin, Texas. The product being tested was Epiphanex, a chemotherapy for moral lassitude which was designed to induce a sudden spiritual experience. V. K. and Zoro had checked in together as a paid vacation from busking to drunken frat boys on the Sixth Street drag. In the waiting room, V. K. recognized Miss Kitty as the ingénue who had lit up the decadent soiree of a mutual acquaintance some years before on the Gold Coast of California. As they reacquainted themselves, a squeal of delight pierced the hush of the clinic as Venus rushed up to Mustafa in a flurry of hugs and kisses. Apparently, Mustafa had been instrumental in busting Venus out of a Marrakech prison, and like most true heroes, had vanished before he could be properly thanked. This commotion attracted the attention of Miss Kitty who recognized Venus as one of her co-conspirators in an ill-fated attempt to overthrow the Mary Kay regime in Dallas the previous year. The mystos began to swirl....
As this motley crew noshed over melba toast and kool-aid, the artist known as Rico, who had infiltrated the clinic under the nom de guerre of Dr. Boguson, approached them with a silver tray of the potion under question, and with a wink directed them away from the placebos. A marvelous time was had by all, especially the researchers who are still wading through the complex and frightening data they collected over the course of the weekend. As for the Jubilistas, they recreate this psychotic debacle on a regular basis at nightclubs and other less savory venues near you.
Zoro Euscadi: Organ, piano, accordion, and melodica.
Zoro was be born in the Basque region of France, a land of soaring mountain vistas, sapphire blue skies, and desperately lonely sheep herders. Legally blind from birth, Zoro has always seen the world as a beautiful kaliedescope of brilliant color filtered through the soft geometry of a Monet masterpiece. As an unrepentant romantic, Zoro considers his lack of visual acuity an evolutionary development that immunizes him from much of the ugliness of life. He sees the bloom and blush of the rose but not the aphids eating its heart.
The people of Zoro''s village are notoriously long lived; his great grandfather, for instance, claims he celebrated the fall of the Bastille in person and played the accordion for Marie Antoinette during her trip to the guillotine. Zoro himself distinctly recalls being forced to entertain the revelers at one of Field Marshall Goering''s bacchanals during the German occupation. He and the other patriots present took the only revenge they could that wouldn''t get them shot: i.e. taking turns spitting into the hun bastard''s claret.
Such quiet fierceness served Zoro well when he invented punk rock busking in the Bowery during the late Sixties. Playing a rabid blend of klezmer, blues, and primal scream, Zoro drew crowds of disaffected teens to his favorite street corner. The pogo is said to be an imitation of the psychotic jig Zoro used to dance as he honked out his nihilist anthems of the apocalypse till the blood ran off his squeezebox. The hippies burned their paisley and donned thrift shop leathers in droves. When some of the local kids picked up guitars and took the scene indoors to CBGB, Zoro knew that fame and fortune was only an impresario away, and promptly boarded a Greyhound for the West Coast.
Years later, busking on 6th street in Austin, Texas, blissfully destitute, Zoro heard someone crooning the lyrics to one of his most popular compositions from the Bowery days, "God Wants the Queen Sedated," a song which had been blatantly plagiarized by several punkers come lately. It was thusly that Zoro made the acquaintance of V. K. Mountebone, a fellow street corner vagabond and diehard Zoro fan for many years. Whether this meeting was providential or dumb luck is a matter of debate, and ultimately beside the point. The facts are clear; the next night they collected $33.00 and a condom, which under numerological analysis proved to be a divine mandate to continue their collaboration. Not ones to sniff at the cosmos, Zoro and V. K. felt obligated to continue to serenade the drunks and ne''er-do-wells of 6th street until sometime later fate (or luck) brought them together with the rest of Bellevue Jubilee.
Mustafa El Gato: Electric stand-up bass, vocals
Mustafa''s family were Moorish nobility expelled from their kingdom in Barcelona by the Spaniards. Mustafa was raised as a prince in exile with noble bearing and a talent for the martial arts. Some day the loyalists may call, and so Mustafa was well prepared for the day when he reclaims the throne. While honing his skills in the service of a variety of underground movements across North Africa, he mastered a variety of musical instruments, largely as cover for his covert activities. No one suspects the two-bit musicians in the corner, and one can stuff several pounds of C4 into a double-bass.
The reasons for his retreat to the New World are classified, and Mustafa is notably tight-lipped about anything prior to his stint in Bellevue Jubilee. However, a few facts can be ascertained. He has an irrational horror of Little Debbie products which makes living in the American South problematic. He hums Gilbert and Sullivan melodies with a wistful, thousand-yard stare. He has the word "Nada" tattooed over his left breast. All else is shadowed in myth.
Rico: All things drum, vocals
All this biographer can get out of this performer is that Rico is not his Christian name. A great deal of independent research has only unearthed a series of aliases: Ewan Pogue in Belfast; J. J. Stump in Knoxville; Uri Gofokkursev in Kiev; Giselle del Gato in Rio (no relation); Pete Moss in Manhattan. The list goes on and the indictments are still coming in.
Since providing the catalyst for the formation of Bellevue Jubilee by dosing the members with 1500 mg. of undiluted Epiphanex, he has occupied the drummers throne with an inscrutable fury and panache. Asked why he sometimes affects a fez while playing, he responded "None of you damn business." When asked about his political sympathies, he opined "bite me." When asked who was better, Tom Jones or Johnny Rotten, he merely wept. Such human depths should be respected or at least avoided like anthrax.
V. K. Mountebone: Guitar, bass, vocals
Virgil Kay Mountebone is the last remnant of a distinguished southern family currently in pronounced decline. The loss of the ancestral seat sometime after the war (according to rumor, in a floating euchre game open only to the scions of Confederate officers), forced Virgil to broaden his horizons beyond the contemplation of Hawthorne and Spanish moss, at times driving him even to the pursuit of filthy lucre, albeit usually in a flamboyant and suitably Byzantine manner. As the final apotheosis of a proud though decadent line that can trace its roots to Cornelius Mountebone, celebrated rake of the Jacobian court, Virgil has always felt honor bound to maintain a certain carriage even in the face of virtual destitution. "A carnation in the lapel," he has been known to say, "is the last bastion of civilization."
Virgil''s extensive though markedly desultory education commenced upon his expulsion from the Biloxi Academy for Young Gentlemen at the tender age of seventeen, purportedly for "execrable behavior". Since that time, he has studied the human condition in all its horror and ineffable beauty in the salons of Budapest, the back alleys of Hong Kong, the palapas of Zijuatenejo, the mansions of Newport, and other points of interest in between. Virgil claims his career as a musician began out of necessity in a Berlin biergarten; unable to pay his tab, he was given the choice of cleaning the lavatories or singing the entire Kurt Weill catalog a capella. As luck would have it, he had recently studied the Weill canon in an Austrian ashram, and to the delight of the patrons and dismay of the proprietor, did passable justice to the master''s work. From that day forward, Virgil used his innate but somewhat limited musical talents to extricate himself from difficulties as they arose and to raise a stake when needed. Somewhere along the way, he began transcribing the music he had always heard in his head, so by the time he came upon his fellow conspirators in Bellevue Jubilee, he had a rat''s nest of material stuffed into his portmanteau, written on everything from toilet tissue to the margins of his dog-eared copy of Das Kapital. The rest, as they say, is mystery.
Herroil Venus: Vocals, trumpet, piano, tambo and other contraptions
Born Ruby Epiphany Nightrain in the type of squalor that can only be found in the poorer sections of a small town in the deepest depths of the Deep South, Venus was raised by a pulchritudinously gifted (if spent) mother and a series of “uncles.” As a precocious child, Ruby set out to lift herself from what would appear to be her unalterable legacy. Early on she devoured the works of Wharton, Fitzgerald, Thackeray, and Austen, supplementing them with rote memorization of Emily Post and Amy Vanderbilt.
Her self-training -- combined with a passably elastic mind that helped her rise above most of her (not-too-impressive) peers at public school – gained her entrée to a decent (state) university. There she continued her quest to be a sort of self-made Pygmalioness, voraciously internalizing the wisdom of such tomes as “The Preppy Handbook” and “Dress for Success.”
Victory was apparently in her grasp when a most handsome and distinguished “Deke” (member of the fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon) began to woo her in earnest during their senior year. Ruby’s Deke (nicknamed Trey for the three roman numerals following his name) was so smitten that he pinned her before year’s end and made arrangements to introduce her to his parents at the graduation party they were giving him at a local country club. By all appearances, she was on her way to a life as the wife of an attorney who would inevitably become a partner in the family firm. But appearances can be deceptive. Sadly, appearances were not deceptive for Trey’s family. A few deft questions told them all they did not want to know about their possible future daughter-in-law. (The girl had done exceedingly well on all of her “social studies,” but – alas – one can’t study for a pedigree.)
Alternately heartbroken and murderously angry when Trey broke it off, Ruby found herself trying to decide between continuing her chosen life through pursuit of her academic field (astral physics) or returning home and “trading on her looks,” as they say in a small town. Ultimately, a new plan came to her. She determined that she would have much more fun making men drool, then spurning them – and getting paid for it all the while.
Turning her well-honed self-improvement talents in a totally new direction, she threw the name Ruby Epiphany Nightrain in a fraternity house dumpster, donned the appellation Herroil Venus and set out on a career as a sword-swallower. (In her early days with the circus, she sometimes moonlighted as a hootchie-coochie girl in the burlesque tent.)
As her swallowing skills grew (and the need for her to supplement her income by wearing pasties diminished), Venus found that her talents were in demand not only throughout the states, but also in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. After conquering the capitals of circus circles, Venus finally retired her swords and began casting about for a new line of work. It was during this period of navel-gazing that she found herself in the drug-testing clinic. And the rest remains to be seen.
Kitty Wompus: Vocals, piano, glockenspiel, harmonica, percussion
Miss Kitty Wompus was raised in the footlights. She won the "Little Miss Lubbock" beauty pageant at age 6, chiefly due to her virtuosic performance of Beethoven''s Ninth Symphony on the piano and kazoo. This triumph was followed by a veritable parade of zirconium tiaras: "Little Miss Barstow" was followed by coups in Chico, Bend, Olympia, and Victoria, B.C. before her mama turned the station wagon around and started to work the Little Miss pageants south and east. Years later, after winning "Miss Teen Tallahassee," Miss Kitty packed her bags (less the fifty odd tiaras), kissed her mama, and headed out in search of something less wholesome. After all, she didn''t really give a damn about world peace, and the constant, mindless grinning was already beginning to give her wrinkles.
The next several years consisted of a succession of short-lived personae that Miss Kitty donned and doffed like so many garish wigs. She played in a piano bar in New Orleans ("too sticky"), delivered singing telegrams in St. George ("too depressing"), did dinner theatre in Muncie ("a form of psychic suicide"), got a Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Texas Tech ("boooooring..."), and sang duets with Shamu in San Diego ("really, really sticky"). Apparently her last incarnation as a glockenspielist in the Mormon Tabernacle Marching Band was the last straw; she got off the band bus in Dallas, dyed her hair black at the nearest Motel 6, and swore the next humiliation she would undergo would not be self-inflicted.
Six months later, she joined Bellevue Jubilee. So much for boot-strap resolutions....